Wednesday, September 21, 2011

We saw the monarchs!

This evening was just beautiful and we decided to spend it at a local beach.

As we watched the geese and the sunset and threw the football, we started noticing monarch butterflies.

They were all flying in the same path, in the same direction, at roughly the same height.

We realized that we had wandered into their migration path! We were so excited! The boys cheered them on and yelled, "have fun in Mexico!"

By the time the sun set, we had counted 97 monarchs.

This is number 61. He needed to take a little rest. Or maybe he just likes the camera.

Two years ago, when we did our "around the world" study, we discovered the monarch's over-wintering grounds while studying Mexico. You can read about that here. Monarchs born over the summer live 6-8 weeks, but the last generation to be born in a season lives 6-8 MONTHS so that they can fly thousands of miles, sometimes crossing the Great Lakes (think no place to land) to go dormant in one small patch of woods in the mountains of Mexico. They are so thick there that they sometimes break tree limbs! Can you imagine how many butterflies that would take? They wake up in the spring, mate and start the trip back, laying eggs all the way. Scientists have tagged butterflies, taken them hundreds of miles off course and they still find their way! God's creation is just astounding and I'm so thankful that He allowed us to see this tonight.

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